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Full text of "Lincoln's Gettysburg address"

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"Four score and seven years ago our fathers 
brought forth on this continent, a new nation, 
conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the 
proposition that all men are created equal. 

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, 
testing whether that nation, or any nation so 
conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. 
We are met on a great battle-field of that war. 
We have come to dedicate a portion of that 
field, as a final resting place for those who here 
gave their lives that that nation might live. It is 
altogether fitting and proper that we should do 

But, in a larger sense, we can not 
dedicate— we can not consecrate— we can not 
hallow— this ground. The brave men, living and 
dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, 
far above our poor power to add or detract. 
The world will little note, nor long remember 
what we say here, but it can never forget what 
they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to 
be dedicated here to the unfinished work which 
they who fought here have thus far so nobly 
advanced. It is rather for us to be here 
dedicated to the great task remaining before 
us— that from these honored dead we take 
increased devotion to that cause for which they 
gave the last full measure of devotion— that we 
here highly resolve that these dead shall not 
have died in vain— that this nation, under God, 
shall have a new birth of freedom— and that 
government of the people, by the people, for 
the people, shall not perish from the earth." 

Five versions of Abraham Lincoln's 
immortal Gettysburg Address, in the President's 
own handwriting, are known to exist. 

The First and Second Drafts of 29 lines and 
33 lines respectively are the property of the 
Library of Congress. The Third Draft, or 
Edward Everett copy, of 31 lines is the 
property of the Illinois State Historical Library. 
The Fourth Draft, or George Bancroft copy, of 
31 lines has been acquired by Cornell 
University. The Fifth Draft which represents 
Lincoln's final judgment as to the contents of 
the address is sometimes designated as "the 
standard version." This has recently been 
presented to the people of the United States by 
a private collector with the request that it be 
exhibited in the White House. 

Some authorities are of the opinion that 
there is a missing sixth draft of the Gettysburg 
Address, supposedly sent by Lincoln to Judge 
David Wills, who was in charge of the 
Gettysburg cemetery dedication. 

Those students who have evaluated the 
impact of the Gettysburg Address on world 
thought are of the opinion that the speech is of 
greater significance than the battle which was 
fought on July 1, 2, 3, 1863. Charles Sumner 
said, "The speech will live when the memory of 
the battle will be lost or only remembered 
because of the speech." Truly, rhetoric outlives 
the facts that inspire it. 

Today, on the battlefield at Gettysburg, 
there are some two thousand monuments, 

tablets and markers that commemorate what 
has been called the "greatest contest of arms on 
American soil." But on this battlefield you will 
find one unique and imposing memorial, the 
only monument in the world erected to a 
speech. It commemorates the "few appropriate 
remarks" made by Lincoln on November 19, 
1863, when his ten-sentence address was 
delivered— an address unequaled in beauty, 
clarity, simplicity and power. 

ON THE COVER: This photograph was taken 
November 8, 1863, just eleven days before Lincoln 
delivered his Gettysburg Address. 




Fort Wayne, Indiana 

Form 8906 12/82